Monday, December 18

Henry Opens Japan

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.

1. On July 14, 1852 Commodore Matthew Perry, went ashore in Kurihama, Japan, after making threats of naval bombardment, and presented a letter from President Millard Fillmore that would open Japan to the U.S. He later went on to further fame as Chandler on Friends.

On December 14, 2006, exactly 154 years and five months later, the historical drama would repeat itself, as historical dramas are prone to do, when John W. Henry, having successfully applied the threat of force much like Perry before him, once again opened Japan to American trade. One wonders if years from now, the Japanese will speak of John Henry’s yacht with the same awe and dread with which they once regarded Perry’s “black ships.”

And yet as eerily similar as the two events are, rather than being mimeographs of each other they are more like reflections. While Perry opened Japan to American imports, Henry opened Japan to exporting baseball talent to America. And in this reenactment, the role of Holland, the meddling misers with the inside track on Japanese wealth, was played by Agent Scott Boras, who is much like the Netherlands in that he is incredibly low and is friendly to whores.

The question now is what does this historical parallel teach us about what will come next? When Perry opened Japan it led to the Meiji Restoration, a period of intense modernization wherein feudalism ended and many Western ways and technologies were adopted. Thus one would assume that Henry’s endeavor would lead to a similar modernization of Japanese baseball including the abolition of the posting system and the wholesale use of performance enhancing drugs. See, history really does repeat itself first as tragedy and then as farce. It’s just not very good farce.

2. The testimony below was submitted to Governor Elect Deval Patrick’s Transition Working Group on Economic Development.

Good afternoon. Jose’s name is Jose Melendez, he is a blogger, and it is his pleasure to offer this esteemed working group, and ultimately our new governor, his recommendations for economic development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

For generations, the Commonwealth has tried to develop its economy by courting business with tax incentives, infrastructure assistance, workforce development assistance and outright bribes. And what have we gotten for our money? Fidelity took tax breaks and still exported jobs. John Hancock, FleetBank and Gillette were purchased by outsiders. And Jose doesn’t know about you, but he is having an awfully hard time finding any new software for his Wang Computer.

It is time turn our energies towards new investments, new strategies. Jose refers you to a study that shows that the recent signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka by the Boston Red Sox, a local athletic concern, is likely to pump an additional $75 million into the Massachusetts economy. However, if we settle for $75 million alone, we are doing our Commonwealth a great disservice. While the Japanese market is formidable, it is not enough. The Commonwealth must support the signing, development and placement on the Red Sox roster of athletes from all key economies. The administration should set as a goal to have one player from every major economic power on the Red Sox roster by the end of the decade. If the Red Sox replaced players from low leverage economies such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela with players from international economic powers such as Germany, France, South Korea and the United Kingdom, as well as players from emerging economies such as the People’s Republic of China and India, Jose estimates that we could secure as much as $1 billion in additional foreign investment in the Massachusetts economy. This would solve all of our problems and we could then all by diamonds and space shuttles.

Thank you for your consideration, and feel free to contact Jose with any further questions.

Thank God that the name
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Is only this long.

Seem that’s a haiku, the famously overused Japanese form of poetry that consists of three lines with five, seven and five syllables respectively. If Daisuke Matsuzka contained any more than its seven syllables it would be useless for the purpose of haiku.

Of course, haiku is overexposed. Remy and McDonough used to do it on Sox broadcasts, and pretty much everyone writings about sports has used it as a cop out at one time or another. And whenever a Japanese player emerges the temptation to resort to it as a cheap gimmick to fill column inches is particularly overwhelming. But Jose isn’t going to do it… not again anyway.

That one up there is all you’ll see. The Japanese culture is so rich, that there are dozens of other ways to pay tribute to Matsuzaka using the traditional art forms of his native land. Over the course of this season, you will see Jose explore Matsuzaka’s inaugural American season in Japanese woodblock prints, kabuki, anime and of course, origami. His little folded paper replica of Matsuzaka striking out A-Rod with the bases loaded will be as elegant in its complexity as Jose’s Zen rock garden commemorating the same event will be in its simplicity.

Also, Jose plans on planting a Japanese cherry tree, conducting a tea ceremony and buying a Toyota.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.


Fat Toad said...


Here's an idea, which I give to you gratis, in keeping with the holiday spirit.

Start a haiku contest on the blog. Let other people do all the heavy lifting, then compile the entries into a low-budget, stocking-stuffer type book just in time for Xmas. Spend the earnings on a flight to Japan, where you might find a lonely and willing Scarlett Johansson at the hotel bar. The rest I can't help you with, but good luck.

Here are my entries:

Right field sun, shadows
Derek Jeter flails as the
Gyro dives away.

I'll give you a billion yen
Break Posada's ribs

Dice-K, Asian doll
You're a cute little manga
Can I tickle you?

O wise Daisuke
Beware that fat Jesus freak
Number thirty-eight

Jose Melendez said...

Having moved a totatl of 7 KEYS books thus far, you can understand why Jose is incredibly eager to do another book